Q&A

Drug Pretrial Intervention Program Q&As

Drug Pretrial Intervention Program Q&As Q. I’m a first time offender with a felony drug charge. What should I expect?

A.  As a first time offender with a felony drug charge, a defendant can expect to have his or her case directed into Drug Court, where one will find the option of participating in the Drug Pretrial Intervention Program or DPTI. If this program is successfully completed by the defendant, the felony charge will be dismissed.

Q. What are the conditions of the Drug Pretrial Intervention Program?

A. Conditions of DPTI supervision are much more intensive than traditional probation. The program is tailored to each defendant depending on his or her needs and may require any combination of weekly drug screenings, weekly and biweekly court dates, weekly check-ins with a probation officer, fees associated with supervision, and community service.  If the court determines the defendant is in need of therapy, the participation and completion of counseling or rehabilitative programs may be required to satisfy the conditions of the DPTI program. Because of the flexibility associated with the program, it is often categorized as alternative sentencing.

Q. Once I’ve been sent to Drug Court how should I decide whether to accept the DPTI Program or pursue other options?

A. Criminal Defense Attorney Andrew Shafii says, “Deciding whether or not you should remain in the program or defer out depends primarily on your drug and criminal history, as well as the strengths and weaknesses of your case.”  In other words, if your charge is an isolated instance and you do not have a drug problem, you should consider deferring out of the program. Additionally, if the evidence posed against you is weak, you should consult with an attorney. The experienced criminal attorneys at the Law Office of Ameen and Shafii are former prosecutors who want to discuss your case today. Call us at 813-436-4357 for your free consultation.

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Have You Been Involved in an Auto Accident? The Law Office of Ameen & Shaffi is Here to Help!

Personal injury attorney A car accident is a very traumatic experience for everyone involved. One moment you’re on the way to your destination safely with your vehicle intact, and suddenly, on impact you are shocked, surprised, angry, frustrated or any combination of these emotions. An accident takes seconds to occur and days, months, or years to resolve depending on the severity of the collision. If you are seriously injured, the effects of the accident remain with you daily as you go about your work, responsibilities, and recreational activities.  As the medical bills climb and the property damage needs to be resolved, you need an experienced personal injury attorney to aggressively and effectively represent your interests.

Mustafa Ameen, Esq., of The Law Office of Ameen and Shafii, specializes in helping those involved in car collisions. We will answer your questions from the onset of your consultation and throughout your case as it progresses.  Because we understand the stress and financial difficulties an auto accident will inevitably present, we initiate and maintain thorough communication on your behalf with the insurance providers from beginning to end. We do this to ensure that your medical expenses, property damage, and future pain and suffering are adequately covered without your phone ringing off the hook. The Law Office of Ameen and Shafii cares about your financial and physical well-being following an auto accident, so we commit to providing you and your case with the personal attention it deserves and requires.

If concerns about balancing additional expenses are keeping you from hiring counsel, don’t fret. At the Law Office of Ameen & Shafii, if there is no settlement, you don’t pay us for the work we’ve done on the case.  So, don’t delay, contact our office immediately and begin defending your rights. Call The Law Office of Ameen & Shafii at 1-800-436-HELP today!

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Pulled over for a DUI?: How Refusing to take the Breath Test Can Affect You

dui-123rfWhen pulled over for a DUI, the officer may ask you to submit to a breath test designed to indicate whether your Blood Alcohol Concentration is above the legal limit of .08. Technically, this test is optional in Florida and law enforcement can’t force you to comply without your consent. If you are aware of this fact, you may be inclined to refuse a breathalyzer after you’ve had a few drinks. However, it is important to consider the lesser known consequences of initial and subsequent refusals in the state of Florida.

While saying “no” to the breathalyzer deprives prosecution of tangible evidence of your intoxication, it does not guarantee you won’t be convicted of a DUI after the fact.  Your choice can be used against you in court where the State may claim your refusal indicated you were in fact, under the influence.

Refusing to submit to a breathalyzer in Florida can breed serious consequences. For instance, saying no to the test after getting pulled over for a suspected DUI the first time can result in getting your license administratively suspended by the DMV for up to one year. Second refusals result in 18 month license suspensions by the DMV. These suspensions are routine and separate from any sanctions the courts can impose if you’re found guilty of a DUI charge.

If you’re arrested for a DUI and refused to take a breath test in Tampa, you need to hire an experienced DUI attorney who can protect and defend your rights. Andrew Shafii, Esq. and Mustafa Ameen, Esq. are skilled former State prosecutors who gained useful knowledge of how the prosecution in Florida interprets evidence in DUI cases. Call The Law Office of Ameen and Shafii at 1-800-HELP (4357) for your free consultation today.

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Arrested for Driving Under the Influence?

DUI attorneyWhat you must know about how DMV and Criminal Sanctions Affect the Validity of your Driving License

Once you are arrested for driving under the influence, you might be concerned about how the getting convicted with the pending charges might affect your record. You might worry that if convicted, you could lose your license for a period of time and suffer from losing your driving privileges. However, did you know that once you’re charged with a DUI, the Department of Motor Vehicles will seek to suspend your license for merely being arrested on a DUI charge? In case you weren’t aware, the DMV will pursue your license suspension after you’ve been cited for driving under the influence, regardless of whether you get convicted or not. This measure is entirely separate from the criminal charges the State pursues against you.

Although the certainty of facing a DMV license suspension adds more stress on top of defending a DUI conviction, knowing how to handle these circumstances is half the battle. Hiring an experienced DUI attorney, like those at the Law Office of Ameen and Shafii, can help you navigate through the obstacles that a DUI charge brings, and move you several steps closer to securing your license and your freedoms.

The Procedure:

After you are arrested for a DUI, you only have 10 days to contest the DMV suspension of your license. Within this time span, you’re required to request a hearing with the DMV even if your criminal case is dropped, or your license will automatically be suspended. Seeking experienced DUI counsel is very important during this period, as time is of the essence.

Once a hearing is scheduled, a DMV appointed hearing officer will be appointed to your case. Like a standard court case, witness subpoenas and supporting documents are considered to determine whether or not the officer properly determined you were above threshold. The DMV has lower standards for what can be admitted during this hearing, so be aware that most supporting evidence will be considered to determine if the officer who cited you had probable cause. After consideration, the examiner will either uphold or rescind the suspension, and you will be notified of this outcome by mail.

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Can I beat a drug charge even if it was mine?

Can I beat a drug charge even if it was mine?My client was charged with possession of cocaine and carrying a concealed firearm, both third degree felonies. He was facing up to 10 years in the Florida state prison for these charges. After I reviewed the police report, I discovered that the State would be unable to prove the charges against my client. Here is why…when an individual is charged with possession of a drug, the State must prove that they were actually in possession or constructively in possession. Actual possession means exactly what it sounds like, you had it in your hands, pocket, socks. Constructive possession is harder to prove. The State must prove three things 1) You knew the items were drugs 2) You knew where the drugs were located and 3) You had the ability to control the drugs. If you do not admit that the drugs were yours, it is hard for the State to prove the case against you. In this case, my client did not admit that the drugs were his and the State had to drop the cocaine charge. They also ended up dropping the firearms charge for the same reason, he didn’t have it in his possession. If you have a drug charge, call Mustafa Ameen, a Tampa criminal attorney, for a free review of your case.

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